Maltese High Commission or Embassy to open in Sub-Saharan Africa - stronger links between Malta and Africa

Reference Number:  , Press Release Issue Date: Sep 28, 2017
This afternoon the Foreign Affairs & Trade Promotion Minister Carmelo Abela announced the opening of a Maltese High Commission or Embassy in Sub-Saharan Africa in the near future – Malta’s first mission in this region of Africa, that will open “a trade gateway to this part of Africa”. The Minister added that there are three countries under consideration and the final decision will be announced next month.

Speaking at a press conference to mark 100 days since the government was re-elected and Minsiter Abela took up his new brief, he said trade promotion was an obvious addition to the foreign affairs brief after internationally-respected Finch Ratings upgraded Malta to A+ “meaning Malta has the right environment to do business.”

He explained how the hard-working and dedicated staff at Maltese embassies and high commissions abroad, plus non-resident ambassadors, are building on their solid diplomatic relationships to increase business interactions. “Which is already helping Malta’s economy become one of the fastest-growing in Europe: GDP growth is expected to increase by 4.6% this year and 4.4% next.”

The Minister continued to say his first trade mission was to Ghana shortly after becoming MFTP Minister, which has proven successful due to many Maltese companies already starting to work there. “With a trade surplus of €12.3 million, exports rising to €20.7 million, and full diplomatic representation in Malta, Ghana was a naturel choice.”

He added that Malta could be the economic gateway into the EU for Ghana through the Economic Partnership Agreement, which provides for duty-free and quota-free access into the EU market for an unlimited period for all imports originating in Ghana. “And, in return, Ghana and other West African countries will liberalise their imports from the EU over a period of up to 20 years.”

The Minister screened a video launched for the ‘100 days/maltA+’ campaign, listing the Ministry’s main achievements since he became MFTP Minister. “And, even though we have only just started, I believe hitting the ground running is setting the agenda at a fast, but achievably high standard for the next five years.”

The video showed how the Ministry is promoting local businesses going global by rewarding those that particularly excel overseas at the first International Business Awards. Held in November, the event will be televised and is being organised by TradeMalta, now part of MFTP.
Also on trade, the Minister explained how Malta was the third EU country to ratify the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement which came into force on the 21st September. “This will benefit half a billion workers, consumers and businesses on both sides of the Atlantic.” 

And how the 33rd session of the Africa Caribbean Pacific-European Union Parliamentary Assembly was successfully hosted in Malta, with MPs and MEPs adopting a declaration on climate change. 

“We also committed ourselves to the fight against migrant smuggling when we joined eight EU and eight African countries in signing a declaration in Rome aimed at combating migrant smuggling from Libya, which will help our Southern Mediterranean neighbourhood.” 
As was the securing of over €3m in EU funds for internal security strengthening, from visa services to managing border control capabilities. 

When discussing what he was committed to do post-100 days, Minister Abela promised to “continue to make sure the Ministry makes the best possible use of our diplomatic networks to continue building relationships, identifying trade opportunities, showcasing our economy, culture, and enhancing Malta’s reputation overseas, as well as continuing the high-quality traditional foreign affairs work it’s always done, from consular to aid”. To meet these objectives the Ministry needed to invest in human resources, especially training in trade, commercial and economic diplomacy.

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